Simanaitis Says

On cars, old, new and future; science & technology; vintage airplanes, computer flight simulation of them; Sherlockiana; our English language; travel; and other stuff


MISINFORMATION IS RIFE. Wacko antivaxxers believe that Covid vaccines contain government-installed chips that monitor our movements. Only slightly more rational antivaxxers seem to know people who have died from a Covid shot. (Scratch one nanometer beneath the surface of this and there’s often an alleged victim already seriously ill with something else entirely.) And then there’s the QAnon crowd, with beliefs evidently fostered by boredom and non-air-conditioned Sunday School imagination.

Not to be alone on this misinformation highway, and being ever youthful-spirited, SimanaitisSays is subscribing to the Gen Z Conspiracy that birds aren’t real. 

Note, the word “BIRD” can stand for Biological Intelligent Reconnaissance Drone. Birds around us aren’t just hanging out on power lines at intersections. These bird-like drones are monitoring our whereabouts, reporting it to the government, and, what’s more, deriving the necessary power from those power lines.

Taylor Lorenz spills the beans, er… birdseed, in her exposé “Birds Aren’t Real, or Are They? Inside a Gen Z Conspiracy Theory,” The New York Times, December 9, 2021.

Lorenz identifies events that the likes of Fox News overlooked: “In Pittsburgh, Memphis, and Los Angeles,” she writes, “massive billboards recently popped up declaring, ‘Birds Aren’t Real.’ On Instagram and TikTok, Birds Aren’t Real accounts have racked up hundreds of thousands of followers, and YouTube videos about it have gone viral.”

A Birds Aren’t Real billboard in Memphis in July. Note the drones perched atop it. Image by Peter McIndoe from The New York Times.

“Last month,” Lorenz continues, “Birds Aren’t Real adherents even protested outside Twitter’s headquarters in San Francisco to demand that the company change its bird logo.”

People Flocking to Join. “The events,” Lorenz says, “were all connected by a Gen Z-fueled conspiracy theory, which posits that birds don’t exist and are really drone replicas installed by the U.S. government to spy on Americans. Hundreds of thousands of young people have joined the movement, wearing Birds Aren’t Real T-shirts, swarming rallies and spreading the slogan.”

Indeed, I’ve decided to make such T-shirts my Christmas gift of choice for woke loved ones. 

As Nutty As QAnon? Lorenz says, “It might smack of QAnon, the conspiracy theory that the world is controlled by an elite cabal of child-trafficking Democrats. Except that the creator of Birds Aren’t Real and the movement’s followers are in on a joke: They know that birds are, in fact, real and that their theory is made up.”

Satire—From the Inside. “In a post-truth world dominated by online conspiracy theories,” says Lorenz, “young people have coalesced around the effort to thumb their nose at, fight and poke fun at misinformation. It’s Gen Z’s attempt to upend the rabbit hole with absurdism.”

One believer in Birds Aren’t Real is quoted as saying, “My favorite way to describe the organization is fighting lunacy with lunacy.” 

Founder Peter McIndoe, 23, and his van. Image by Rana Young from The New York Times.

The Movement’s Founder. Peter McIndoe, now 23, created Birds Aren’t Real on a whim after growing up in a deeply conservative and religious family. Lorenz writes, “Then in January 2017, Mr. McIndoe traveled to Memphis to visit friends. Donald J. Trump had just been sworn in as president, and there was a women’s march downtown. Pro-Trump counterprotesters were also there. When Mr. McIndoe saw them, he said, he ripped a poster off a wall, flipped it over and wrote three random words: ‘Birds Aren’t Real.’ ”

“It was a spontaneous joke, but it was a reflection of the absurdity everyone was feeling,” McIndoe said. 

Of course, he wasn’t the only person sensing Trumpian absurdity. And Birds Aren’t Real caught on, especially among teenagers in the South. 

Mr. McIndoe rallies protesters outside Twitter’s headquarters in San Francisco last month. Image by Madeline Houston from The New York Times.

Cosplaying Conspiracy Theorists. McIndoe says, “Birds Aren’t Real is not a shallow satire of conspiracies from the outside. It is from the deep inside. A lot of people in our generation feel the lunacy in all this, and Birds Aren’t Real has been a way for people to process that.”

A Personal View. It isn’t just your generation, Peter. I’ll wear my BIRDS: Biological Intelligent Reconnaissance Drones T-shirt proudly as other less enlightened sorts drone on about antivaxxing, illegitimate elections, and the rest of the information sewer. ds

© Dennis Simanaitis,, 2021 


  1. Bill Rabel
    December 12, 2021

    I wish the conspiracy theorists had the cognitive ability to realize that they’ve become the butt of a joke…

  2. sabresoftware
    December 13, 2021

    Heck, Hitchcock knew about this back in 63!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: